Spiritual Practice


Hannah Beaven, 19

When my beloved youth pastor revealed that she was homosexual, my church was deeply divided. Blame, judgment, and fear lingered as people found comfort in opinions similar to their own. Our refusal to converse as a community led to greater misunderstanding and pain.

I was annoyed that people talked among themselves but were unwilling to speak directly with my youth pastor. Despite my own fears that such a conversation would be awkward and confrontational, I felt that talking with her was important.

Our conversation turned out to be beautifully honest and life-giving. My youth pastor and her wife welcomed my questions and were grateful that I had initiated the conversation. Whether we agreed or disagreed on certain points became inconsequential. Exchanging perspectives and experiences increased our respect for one another and made us more conscious of the shared humanity that binds us all as children of God.

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)


LET’S TALK: Real conversations, even when they are uncomfortable, bind us together. They strengthen our ability to receive others with empathy and grace. They foster mutual respect and fulfill an intrinsic human need to be heard and understood. Two years later, our church is having the conversations we neglected. Many obstacles still lie ahead, but I have the hope of reconciliation found in real conversation. How could your community benefit from real conversations?

—from devozine (January/February 2020). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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